Google Glass vs. Oculus RiftOct 07, 2014 04:29PM ● By Ryan Frisch
Technology is constantly changing, and in our tech-driven world, users are always looking for the next best thing—whether it’s a tablet, a phone with tablet-like functionality, or some other piece of technology designed to streamline your work and organize your life. At the forefront right now is technology that consumers wear, such as headsets that allow you to perform different functions. Here’s a look at two of these.
Google Glass – Meant for the Everyday User, Someday
Google Glass is a wearable technology with an optical mounted head display (OMHD) that works with special glass lenses or sunglass lenses to deliver information in a hands-free, smartphone-like visualization on the inside of the lens. Sounds crazy, right? It is still in beta, meaning that there’s no solid consumer version available yet. While the general public in the US and UK can now purchase the beta product, all the kinks are yet to be worked out. As usual for this innovative company, Google Glass provides a variety of functions. You can take photos or videos right from the OMHD using your voice or with the touch of a button. The battery pack that sits on the back of the glass unit provides a touchscreen area that allows users to control the device. Initially, Google integrated Glass with all of its functionality, such as Gmail, Google, and Google Now, which provides navigation information from flight times and delay information to traffic updates on the road as well as weather information and more.
Since its debut, developers everywhere have been creating versions of existing apps that are compatible with Glass technology, although the number is still limited. For example, you can verbally take notes or make lists with the Evernote app, check on the news with NY Times and CNN apps, play music with Google Play (and specially integrated headphones), stay in shape with fitness apps, check your social media with Twitter and Facebook updates, and even make phone calls and send text messages. One app called Word Lens, possibly the most impressive, allows you to focus on foreign text and then translates it from one language to another. While not created specifically for game play, Google’s Mini Games provides the user with a few games that can be played on screen. Google has even created a companion app called MyGlass for iPhone and Android users that aims to allow users to configure their Glass device through their phone, as well as to use phone contact information, send text messages, and make calls through their phone rather than through the Glass device (the bugs are still being worked out). This device sounds absolutely incredible! The downsides at the moment are the battery life and the cost. The Google Glass Explorer Edition currently available will run you $1,500.00, although you get the lenses for free, a value of about $225.00. While Google Glass is a cutting edge and futuristic piece of technology, it remains beyond most of the general public’s budgets these days.
Oculus Rift – Meant for Gamers
The Oculus Rift is a virtual-reality headset that allows gamers to step inside their favorite video games and virtual worlds and experience them in 3D. The Rift uses custom-tracking technology to provide 360° head tracking, allowing you to look around the virtual world with no latency, the same as you would in real life, and it provides a 100° field of view (that’s wider than your peripheral vision). It offers stereoscopic 3D views with excellent depth, scale, and parallax, which are achieved by presenting unique and parallel images for each eye, just as your eyes perceive images in the real world. This results in a more natural, immersive experience. There is currently no consumer version available, but there is a “developer” version available for sale for those who want to create content viewable by the consumer version when it comes out. The Developer Kit 2 of the Oculus Rift runs you $350, a seemingly reasonable price for a piece of equipment on this forefront. The company is also working on a mobile version in collaboration with Samsung that works with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to provide multiple functions including streaming 2D and 3D movie content.
Have you tried either of these technologies? Share your experiences and opinions with us in the comments below!